Feeding tubes worsen pressure ulcers in elderly dementia patients, study suggests

Share this article:

New research suggests that feeding tubes can cause or worsen pressure ulcers in elderly dementia patients — a finding that contradicts the commonly held belief that feeding tubes promote healing.

In analyzing Medicare claims data for thousands of beneficiaries with dementia, BrownUniversity researchers found that individuals with a percutaneous endoscopicgastric (PEG) feedingtube were 2.27 times more likely to develop a pressure ulcer than those without a feeding tube. Additionally, the risk of the patient developing a more severe, stage IV ulcer was 3.21 times higher for those with a feeding tube.

While the reasons aren't yet known, investigators theorized that feeding tubes can cause agitation in those with dementia and increase the risk of diarrhea.

“It provides solid evidence that there is a risk and that we need to discuss it,” lead author Joan Teno, M.D., said. “I'm hoping that people now can use this study to make better decisions in light of a patient's goals and values.”

The study was published May 14 in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Share this article:

More in News

'Minor' issues at the nursing home can cause disastrous care transitions, expert warns

'Minor' issues at the nursing home can cause ...

What may appear to be minor administrative problems in a nursing home - a fax machine locked away at night or no one designated to copy paperwork - can cause ...

Long-term care facilities approach 80% worker flu vaccination rate after handing power ...

Fourteen long-term care facilities in Pennsylvania dramatically increased their staff flu vaccination rate by having a regional pharmacy take over the process, according to a report issued Thursday by the Agency for Healthcare Quality and Research (AHQR).

RACs were 'most improved' healthcare auditors for getting back money in 2013, ...

Medicare Recovery Audit Contractors dramatically stepped up their overpayment recoveries last year, returning nearly $487 million more to the government than they did in 2012, according to a new report from a federal watchdog agency.